Leipzig experts continue working in Ethiopia, Africa

Sachsen Wasser continues improving drinking water supply for three refugee camps in the region of Gambella, Ethiopia


For another two years, Sachsen Wasser GmbH is supporting the water supply company of the Itang town for the development of a long-term and sustainable drinking water supply. The Itang Town Water Utility, ITWU, currently supplies approximately 250,000 people in the Gambella region, near the Southern Sudanese border of Ethiopia. As a consortium leader, Sachsen Wasser cooperates with local and international partners.

UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund) is supporting ITWU with capacity building measures. The first year of the project has been finished and Sachsen Wasser was contracted by UNICEF for a further 2 years to conclude.

The objectives of the project are:

  • To capacitate the ITWU to run the water supply scheme as a government entity;
  • To replicate the pilot project in other regions with similar conditions at a later stage

The project volume amounts to three million euros and the project period is three years.

The project

When a refugee situation establishes, the first initiative for ensuring water supply is to set-up a trucks transport system. If there is a rapid development in numbers, the next step is to implement an emergency water supply system. This installation is added onto in an ad hoc manner, as the numbers of refugees increase. When the situation stabilizes, this supply system must be optimized using sound engineering principles and design in order to achieve a sustainable supply. This is now to happen in Itang and is critically important.  

The steadily growing capacity requirements as a result of the longer-lasting refugee situation needs to receive more attention. The ITWU was founded in 2017 on the initiative of UNICEF and through an international call for tender, a consultant was sought, who can support the ITWU during the difficult start-up phase. In June 2018, Sachsen Wasser was awarded with the contract for this challenging project and just recently an extension has been concluded.  

The local requirements and challenges

The lack of premises, infrastructure, technology and qualified personnel requires consultants having a flexible and innovative approach for the implementation of the project. Furthermore, the situation on the ground is influenced by conflicts between urban and rural populations, host community and refugees, as well as between different ethnic groups and tribes. An essential approach of Sachsen Wasser is therefore the involvement of all stakeholders. The approach is to oblige all stakeholders to common goals and thus ensuring the way forward achieving a successful project implementation. With adapted training approaches and other initiatives, Sachsen Wasser wants to sustainably activate and consolidate the stakeholder participation and cooperation.  

UNICEF is already planning to extend the operator model to other regions of Ethiopia which have similar requirements. Sachsen Wasser supports this strategy.


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